The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask: (With Answers) Paperback – Nov 1 2010
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From the Back Cover
"How could a good God allow so much suffering? "Why should I believe heaven and hell exist?""Why do you condemn homosexuals?" "Why trust the Bible? It's full of myths." "Why are Christians so judgmental?" "Sure, Jesus was a good man. Why make him into the Son of God, too?" "Didn't evolution put God out of a job?" "Why are Christians so obsessed with abortion?" "What makes you so sure God even exists?" "Christians are hypocrites--so why should I listen to you?" Are there questions you "dread" being asked? Maybe you dread asking them even of yourself. They're the ones on subjects such as hell, homosexuality, or suffering. Through a national poll conducted by The Barna Group, Mark Mittelberg uncovered the questions Christians most fear being asked. Complete with discussion questions, Mark's book will help you meet today's hot-button issues head on.
About the Author
Mark Mittelberbg es autor, conferencista y estratega de evangelismo. Es coautor con Bill Hybels de Conviertase en un cristiano contagioso y con Lee Strobel de Aventura Inesperada. Junto a Bill Hybels y Lee Strobel es coautor del programa de estudio Conviertase en un cristiano contagioso. Anteriormente sirvio como lider de evangelismo para Willow Creek Association.
Lee Strobel tiene una licenciatura en periodismo de la Universidad de Missouri y una maestria en estudio de leyes de la Universidad Yale. Fue el galardonado editor legal del periodico Chicago Tribune y esceptico espiritual hasta el ano 1981. Es autor best sellerdel New York Times de casi veinte libros y ha sido entrevistado por numerosos programas nacionales de television, incluyendo 20/20 de la cadena ABC, Fox News y CNN. Cuatro de sus libros han ganado el premio Medalla de oro y uno de ellos fue el ganador del premio Libro cristiano del ano 2005 (el cual escribio junto a Garry Poole). Lee sirvio como pastor de ensenanza en las Iglesias Willow Creek y Saddleback. Ademas, contribuye como editor y columnista de la revista Outreach. El y su esposa, Leslie, residen en Colorado. Para mas informacion, visite: www.leestrobel.com
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I have taken a passage from the Bible as my guideline for defending the Christian faith. The Apostle Peter wrote:
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15, 16)
Focus on Christ ... Be prepared to answer ... Answer gently and respectfully. In this book, Mark Mittelberg arms Christians with information to help them do just that. He doesn't shy away from the tough questions like the apparent disharmony between Science and the Bible, or God's existence, or Christ's divinity. All of these he addresses using Scripture, philosophy, science, and logic. Mittelberg frequently quotes both Christian and atheist apologists to help make his point. And he does so very winsomely.
Each chapter is designed as sort of a lecture and lab. Mittelberg teaches, and then he walks through some possible conversations and objections an atheist or non-Christian may have about Christian's beliefs. So this book could be used for either individual study or as curriculum for a classroom.
It's a helpful and an enjoyable read.
The author, Mark Mittelberg, began by having the Barna Group survey 1000 Christians asking what questions regarding their faith made them the most uncomfortable. He then narrowed these down to the top ten and compiled answers for each. Some of the topics here include such things as: The Existence of God, 'Didn't Evolution Put God Out of a Job?', the reliability of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, the problem of evil and suffering, and several more. The topics covered are all highly relevant areas for believers in conversations with others.
Mr. Mittelberg approaches his topics in a very loving manner. He clearly is more concerned about the fate of others than simply winning an argument, although he is very effective in presenting evidences as well. He puts a lot of emphasis on clarifying the position of the other person, thus improving communication.
One chapter that is particularly good is the one on evolution. He does a great job of highlighting some of the major weaknesses of that theory.
In the area of evil and suffering, he really goes beyond intellectual responses and encourages readers to avoid platitudes (He/she is in a better place now, etc). He makes the case that oftentimes those who are have objections about God related to suffering are currently dealing with a situation themselves.
One of the areas that Mittelberg deals very effectively with is the contention that so many Christians are hypocrites. He demonstrates how that can be an issue of common ground with the person. He said, 'Jesus dealt with this issue often - and no one spoke more strongly about it than he did.'
Overall, this is a very good book that should be read by all Christians as well as anyone honestly evaluating the claims of Christ.
[Latin -- more at onerous]
a : burden
b : a disagreeable necessity : obligation c : blame d : stigma
[New Latin onus (probandi), literally, burden of proving]
: burden of proof
Synonyms: blot, brand, burden, stain, slur, smirch, smudge, spot, stigma, taint
(from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
So, well... I can't exactly say I didn't know what an onus was - I knew burden was a synonym, but couldn't give you a dictionary definition; however, it was definitely one of those words that I understood quite well in context. Out of curiosity, I looked up the etymology of the word... I had no idea it was in the same family as "onerous~" hmmmmm... that it contained such negative connotations... but I digress.
I started wondering because of a statement by well-known athiest, Richard Dawkins, mentioned towards the very end of Mark Mittelberg's book, The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (with answers). Dawkins claims that the onus to explain Christian beliefs falls squarely on the shoulder of Christians. Sadly, instead of Jesus followers excited at this God-given occasion to share God's life-changing message with those who have questions or who don't believe, many Christians run from these encounters because it is to them an onus - a burden, a disagreeable necessity, an obligation. That is the very purpose of this book: to excite and encourage believers about this opportunit,y equiping them with information and then strategies for how to take hard questions and move from a defensive burden of proof stance to a compelling presentation of God's plan of salvation. After all, to quote one of my absolute favorite books, "...sometimes when you begin to wonder, you begin to make things happen."
Mittleberg is careful to make the point several times throughout the book that we need not be afraid of seekers asking questions... that means things are happening and the Holy Spirit is working. Always being prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within us is a biblical command, not something to avoid. So he tackles the perceived most difficult questions, as determined by The Barna Group in a national poll:
*Why are Christians so judgemental?
*Why trust the Bible? It's full of myths?
*How could a good God allow so much suffering?
*What makes you so sure God even exists?
*Why do you condemn homosexuals?
*Sure, Jesus was a good man. Why make him into the Son of God, too?
*Why should I believe heaven and hell exist?
*Christians are hypocrites - so why should I listen to you?
*Why are Christians so obsessed with abortion?
*Didn't evolution put God out of a job?
I appreciated Mittleberg's grace filled approach to talking with questionners, his ever-present focus on revealing Christ as the ONLY Way, Truth and Life and especially the fact that he doesn't shy away from the fact of naming sin as sin. The following two paragraphs I found very representative of the tone of the entire book:
"...don't focus on trying to reform people from the outside in, but rather on sharing the life-changing gospel, which reforms us all from the inside out. People usually come to Christ by responding to the general message of God's love and Jesus' payment for their sins on the cross - then the Holy Spirit begins to indwell them, applying the teachings of the Bible and guiding them into his fuller truth and a lifestyle marked by purity. All of us must 'come to Christ as we are' - often with mistaken ideas and messed-up morals. But that's what grace is for! That's what the sanctification process is designed to deal with. What God looks for is a humble, contrite heart from a person who is willing to be made new."
"We must not ignore or excuse sin. Equally, we must keep it in the right perspective - whatever it is, whether of a sexual nature or something else - knowing that 'when we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners' (Rom. 5:6). He 'justifies the widked' (Rom. 4:5, NIV), not the people who think they're all right without him. His specialty is dealing with rebels like us in order to root out the moral decay in our lives and to conform us to the image of Christ."
I highly recommend Questions... to all. With a focus on preparation, proximity and especially prayer as keys to sharing this message, Mittleberg emphasises that all efforts to communicate God's message to others are ultimately dependent on Him. Even if most of the information is already well-known to you, it is encouraging and challenging to see how gently moving from defense to offense gives amazing opportunity to openly share God's Word and His plan and then watch as the Holy Spirit acts in the lives of friends, seekers, and questionners. This book is sure to challenge any follower of Jesus as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale as a part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 244: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and and Testimonials in Advertising."
I do think the author is full of good intentions, but his theories and reasons are not novel. If an atheist reads this book he will stay an atheist. If a Christian reads this, he will have some ideas as how to defend his faith but these ideas will only work if the other part, the one being convinced, actually needs and wants to be convinced.
No Muslim will become a Christian reading this book nor will an atheist believe in God after finishing the book.
Many chapters are actually too large and at the end he whole point is to say the subject is so because the Bible so says it.
I didn't find anything new to me in this book, but as I said the author is full of good intentions, the book is well written and easy to read.